|Disaster victims from Fukushima prefecture having a pleasant time on an early Sunday afternoon.(10th, Sep. 2017）|
A woman who fled from the village of Katsurao said to us, “It doesn’t matter whether the evacuation is voluntary or mandatory. We’d like to reduce influence of radiation on our children and grandchildren if only by a little.” While the evacuees are now able to return to their homes because the evacuation order has been lifted after the completion of decontamination, it is only elderly people who have returned. There were only four school-age children who expressed their desire to return to the village to go to school, so the resuming of classes has been deferred until next year. Another woman who has evacuated with her children was looking back over the last six years of struggle. During that time, she was forced to travel in search of work in order to raise the family. Most of the participants unanimously said, “It’s definitely a happy and pleasant experience to gather like this, instead of the usual loneliness”, and, “this gathering has helped me get unhappy feelings off my chest.”
|A superb lunch full of lively conversations|
The gathering was attended not only by evacuees, but also by those from Fukushima who have been living in Tokyo for years. Among them was a woman who shared that she couldn’t bear to see the painful situation of her fellow people from her own hometown. But she expressed that, “After this experience, I am motivated to do what I can for them.” Among the evacuees was also a person who said, “I’ve been supported by people around me so far, but from now on, I want to become that support for others.” It was indeed an impressive sight witnessing every evacuee showing determination and strength from within to move forward with their lives, despite having gone through the unhappy, frustrating, and tough situation of losing their hometown. AAR is committed to the continued support of the evacuees from Fukushima, through activities such as Musashino Smile.
|Shinichiro OHARA, AAR Japan Sendai office |
Joined AAR in August 2011 after working in a manufacturing company.Based in Sendai, he has been engaged in recovery assistance in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima nearly daily. Born in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.
Japanese-English translation by Mr.Masaharu Sato
English editing by Mr. Wong Chun Han
This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.